chapter  3
Living conservation values: women and conservation easement protection in central New York
ByVirginia Kennedy
Pages 18

In the summer of 2013, Dr. Mary Anne Whelan, a retired pediatric neurologist living in Cooperstown, NY, decided to make a gift of over seventy acres1 of farm and forest lands to Otsego Land Trust. She allowed that Otsego Land Trust could sell the land and use the funds generated for its land protection mission. She designated that as a condition of the sale, the land be protected by a conservation easement. Dr. Whelan is one of eight women landowners who have sought to protect land with conservation easements since my arrival as Executive Director at Otsego Land Trust in 2013. In fact, during my tenure at the land trust, ten of twelve active easement projects have involved women landowners. My purpose in what follows is not to claim that these women represent a statistical trend toward greater numbers of women landowners protecting their land than men and/or in increasingly greater numbers overall. However, a comprehensive study of statistical trends regarding women landowners and easement protection, both in terms of their numbers and motivations, may indicate that women do protect land in greater numbers than men, and women landowners who protect their land may be increasing. It is a study worth undertaking.